You may have heard of how attachment styles can impact how you engage with other people and show up in relationships — in particular, there’s an increased awareness these days of what an anxious attachment style is and how it manifests.
However, “anxious” might not resonate with you, especially if you find you’re someone who needs a lot of space, takes a long time to drop the “L” word, or is quick to cut people off when something in the relationship goes wrong. You might have more of an avoidant attachment style — a style characterized by a fear of intimacy and a need for independence.
Here are some signs that you may have an avoidant attachment style:
- You find it difficult to trust others.
- You push people away when they get too close.
- You are uncomfortable with physical touch or emotional intimacy.
- You prefer to be independent and self-sufficient.
- You have difficulty expressing your feelings.
- You have a negative view of yourself and others.
- You tend not to speak up when someone hurts your feelings or something has negatively impacted you.
- You have a sense that getting into a relationship or making a relationship commitment will somehow cause you harm.
- People may describe you as aloof or may misinterpret your behavior as thoughtless or self-centered.
Navigating your avoidant attachment style
If you think you may have an avoidant attachment style, it is important to remember that there are many things you can do to manage how you feel and how you relate to others. These include:
Take some time to get to know yourself better. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your needs and wants? Once you have a better understanding of yourself, you can start to challenge yourself to share that understanding with others.
Interrogate your negative thoughts
If you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about yourself or others, reflect on those thoughts. Are they really true? Are there complexities that exist that you have not considered? Are there other ways to look at the situation that are more helpful?
Be kind to yourself, even when you make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, and it's important to resist shame spiraling about them. Shame often causes us to hide and turn inwards, resulting in a sense of distance in our close relationships.
It takes time to change the ways you relate to others. Don't get discouraged if you don't see results immediately. Practice and consistency are key to seeing progress.
If you and/or your relationships have been negatively impacted by your avoidant attachment style, one of the best things you can do is to talk to a therapist. Therapy can help you understand how your avoidant attachment manifests and develop strategies for engaging in relationships in a more satisfying way. Ready to start your therapy journey? Click the button below to schedule a free phone consultation.